Tips Pregnancy health and problem

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					  9 Problems
          our body has a great deal to do during pregnancy. Sometimes
          the changes taking place will cause irritation or discomfort, and
          on occasions they may seem quite alarming. There is rarely any
  need for alarm but you should mention anything that is worrying you to
  your doctor or midwife.
    If you think that something may be seriously wrong, trust your own
  judgement and get in touch with your doctor or midwife straight away.
    We have listed, in alphabetical order, the changes you are most likely
  to notice and their causes – where these are known – plus suggestions
  on how to cope.

  COMMON                    M I N O R P RO B L E M S

                                                                                      If during or after birth you
  During pregnancy ligaments become
  softer and stretch to prepare you for
                                             •  work at a surface high enough
                                                to prevent you stooping;
                                                                                      have pain in the hips, groin,
                                                                                      lower abdomen and inner
  labour. This can put a strain on the                                                thighs and have difficulty
  joints of your lower back and pelvis       • between two baskets if you are
                                               try to balance the weight
                                                                                      walking or climbing stairs,
  which can cause backache. As the                                                    you should inform your GP,
                                                carrying shopping;
  baby grows, the hollow in your                                                      midwife or hospital doctor.
  lower back may increase and this
  may also cause backache (see box).
                                             • well supported. straight and
                                               sit with your back                     This may be due to a gap in
                                                                                      a joint in the pelvic girdle
                                                                                      not closing up. This gap
  To avoid backache:                         A firm mattress can help to prevent       appears naturally during the
                                             and relieve backache. If your            birth to allow for the baby’s
                                             mattress is too soft, a piece of
  • avoid heavy lifting;                     hardboard under its length will
                                                                                      head. This condition is
                                                                                      known as Symphysis Pubic
  • back straight when lifting or
    bend your knees and keep your            make it firmer.
                                                Massage can also help, or you
                                                                                      Dysfunction (SPD).
                                                                                      It affects very few women
     picking up something from the           might like to try a support corset –     but early diagnosis and
     floor;                                   these can be prescribed by your          appropriate treatment will
                                             doctor. Make sure you get enough
  • heavy, do haveclose to your body;
    if you
           hold it
                    to carry something
                                             rest, particularly later in pregnancy.
                                                                                      help to minimise the pain
                                                                                      and avoid long-term
                                                If your backache is very painful,     discomfort. If you are
  • round your feettwistingturningspine;
           to avoid
                                             ask your doctor to refer you to an
                                             obstetric physiotherapist at your
                                                                                      diagnosed with SPD, you
                                                                                      can contact The Pelvic
                                             hospital. He or she will be able to      Partnership (see page 150)
  • weight toshoes as these allow your
    wear flat
               be evenly distributed;
                                             give you some advice and suggest         for support and information.
                                             some helpful exercises.

                                                                                                                  77                                      Free Natural Health Ebooks

                 CONSTIPATION                             CRAMP

                 You may become constipated very          Cramp is a sudden, sharp pain,
                 early in pregnancy because of the        usually in your calf muscles or feet.
                 hormonal changes going on in your        It is most common at night, but
                 body. It will help to:                   nobody really knows what causes it.
                                                          It usually helps if you pull your toes
                 • fibre in your diet through eating
                   make sure you include plenty of        hard up towards your ankle or rub
                                                          the muscle hard. Regular, gentle
                   foods like wholemeal breads,           exercise in pregnancy, particularly
                   wholegrain cereals, fruit and          ankle and leg movements, will
                   vegetables, and pulses such as         improve your circulation and may
                   beans and lentils;                     help to prevent cramp occurring.

                 • muscles toned up;to keep your
                   exercise regularly
                                                          LEAKING FROM YOUR NIPPLES

                 • water;sure you drink plenty of
                   make                                   This is colostrum and is the first
                                                          milk your breasts make in
                                                          preparation to feed your baby.
                 • constipation – askthey cause
                   avoid iron pills if
                                       your doctor
                                                          However, see your doctor or
                                                          midwife if it becomes bloodstained.
                   whether you can manage without
                   them or change to a different
                   type; if not, you may have to          FAINTNESS
                   accept having constipation.
                                                          Pregnant women often feel faint.
                                                          This happens when not enough
                                                          blood is getting to the brain. If the
                                                          oxygen level gets too low, you may
                                                          actually faint. It’s more common in
                                                          pregnancy because of hormonal
                                                          changes taking place in your body.
                                                          You’re most likely to feel faint if you
                                                          stand still for too long or get up too
                                                          quickly from a chair or hot bath. It
                                                          often happens when you are lying
                                                          on your back.

                                                          • or lyingget up slowly after sitting
                                                            Try to

                                                          • still, find a faintquicklystanding
                                                            If you feel
                                                                                      and the
                                                             faintness will pass. If it doesn’t,
                                                             lie down on your side.

                                                          • your back, faint while lying onIt’s
                                                            If you feel
                                                                        turn on your side.
                                                             better not to lie flat on your back
                                                             in later pregnancy or during
78                         Free Natural Health Ebooks


  During pregnancy you’re likely to            or highly spiced ones, but make
  feel warmer than normal. This is             sure you are still eating well
  due to hormonal changes and to an            (see pages 8–12 for information
  increase in blood supply to the skin.        on healthy eating).
  You’re also likely to sweat more. It
  helps if you:                             Heartburn is more than just
                                            indigestion. It is a strong, burning
  • natural fibres, as these are more
    wear loose clothing made of             pain in the chest. It is caused by the
                                            valve between your stomach and the
     absorbent and ‘breathe’ more           tube leading to your stomach
     than synthetic fibres;                  relaxing in pregnancy, so that
                                            stomach acid passes into the tube.
  • using your room cool – consider
          an electric fan;
                                            It is often brought on by lying flat.
                                            To avoid heartburn you could:

  • wash frequently to stay fresh.          • raisingwell propped your– bed with
                                                      the head of
                                                                  up try

                                               bricks or have plenty of pillows;

  Some pregnant women find they get
                                            • onedrinking bed in of milk –wake
                                                  by your
                                                          a glass
                                                                  case you

  a lot of headaches. A brisk walk may         with heartburn in the night;
  be all you need, as well as a little
  more regular rest and relaxation.
  Although it is wise to avoid drugs in
                                            • few hourseating oryou go to bed;a
                                                                 drinking for

  pregnancy, an occasional paracetamol
  tablet is generally considered safe.
     If you often have bad headaches,
                                            • advice; doctor or midwife for
                                              ask your

  tell your doctor or midwife so that
  they can advise you. Severe
  headaches may be a sign of high
                                            • mixture before checking that they
                                              don’t take antacid tablets or

  blood pressure (see page 84).                are safe in pregnancy.


  This is partly caused by hormonal         Mild itching is common in pregnancy
  changes and later by the growing          because of the increased blood
  womb pressing on the stomach.             supply to the skin. In late pregnancy
  If you suffer from indigestion:           the skin of the abdomen is stretched
                                            and this may also cause itchiness.
  • often; smaller meals more
    try eating                              Wearing loose clothing may help.
                                               Itching can, however, be a sign of
                                            a more serious problem called obstetric
  • eating straighttakes the pressure
    sit up
           as this
                    when you are            cholestasis (see page 84). If itching
                                            becomes severe, or you develop
     off your stomach;                      jaundice (yellowing of the whites of
                                            the eyes and skin), see your doctor.
  • cause trouble, forfoods which
    avoid particular
                        example fried
                                            Itching which is associated with a rash
                                            may also need treatment if it is severe.
                                                                                                                79                                       Free Natural Health Ebooks

                 NAUSEA AND MORNING
                                                           • Remedies containing ginger
                                                             may be helpful.

                 Nausea is very common in the early
                 weeks of pregnancy. Some women
                                                           • Wear comfortable clothes.feel
                                                             waistbands can make you

                 feel sick, some are sick. Some feel          worse.
                 sick in the mornings, some at other
                 times, some all day long.                 If you are being sick all the time and
                    The reasons are not fully              cannot keep anything down, inform
                 understood, but hormonal changes          your doctor or midwife. Some
                 in the first three months are probably     pregnant women experience severe
                 one cause. Nausea usually disappears      nausea and vomiting. This condition
                 around the 12th–14th week. Nausea         is known as hyperemesis gravidarum.
                 can be one of the most trying             (See page 149 for the support group
                 problems in early pregnancy. It           Blooming Awful.)
                 comes at a time when you may be
                 feeling tired and emotional, and          NOSE BLEEDS
                 when many people around you may
                 not realise you are pregnant and          Nose bleeds are quite common in
                 expect you to be your normal self.        pregnancy because of hormonal
                                                           changes. The nose bleeds are usually
                 • morning, give yourself time to
                   If you feel sick first thing in the      short but can be quite heavy. To help
                                                           the bleeding stop, press the sides of
                    get up slowly. If possible, eat        your nose together between your
                    something like dry toast or a plain    thumb and forefinger just below the
                    biscuit before you get up. Your        bony part of your nose for ten
                    partner could bring you some           minutes. Repeat for a further ten
                    sweet tea.                             minutes if this is unsuccessful. As
                                                           long as you don’t lose a lot of blood,
                 • whenever yourest and sleeptired
                   Get plenty of
                                 can. Feeling
                                                           there is nothing to worry about.
                                                           Blow your nose gently and try to
                    can make the sickness worse.           avoid explosive sneezes. You may
                                                           also find that your nose gets more
                 • thansmall amountsmeals, but don’t
                        several large
                                      often rather         blocked up than usual.

                    stop eating.
                                                           PASSING WATER OFTEN
                 • Drink plenty of fluids.                  Needing to pass water often is an
                                                           early sign of pregnancy. Sometimes it
                 • support. close to you for extra
                   Ask those
                                                           continues right through pregnancy.
                                                           In later pregnancy it’s the result of
                                                           the baby’s head pressing on the
                 • can. Often the nausea getsasworse
                   Distract yourself as much you
                                                              If you find that you’re having to
                    the more you think about it.
                                                           get up in the night, you could try
                                                           cutting out drinks in the late
                 • make you feel worse.smells that
                   Avoid the foods and
                                        It helps if
                                                           evening but make sure you keep
                                                           drinking plenty during the day.
                    someone else can cook but, if
                                                           Later in pregnancy, some women
                    not, go for bland, non-greasy
                                                           find it helps to rock backwards and
                    foods, such as baked potatoes,
                                                           forwards while they are on the toilet.
                    pasta and milk puddings, which
                                                           This lessens the pressure of the
80                  are simple to prepare.
                                                           womb on the bladder so that you                        Free Natural Health Ebooks

  can empty it properly. Then you
  won’t need to pass water again quite
                                               • your regular exercise to improve
  so soon.
     If you have any pain while passing
  water, or pass any blood, you may
                                               • slightly raised on booksthe bed
                                                 sleep with the foot of
                                                                           or bricks;
  have a urine infection which will
  need treatment. Drink plenty of
  water to dilute your urine and
                                               • discomfort,pack to ease gently
                                                 use an ice
                                                             holding this
  reduce irritation. You should contact           against the piles, or use a cloth
  your GP within 24 hours.                        wrung out in iced water;
     Sometimes pregnant women are
  unable to prevent a sudden spurt of
  urine or a small leak when they
                                               • gentlypiles stick out, push them
                                                 if the
                                                        back inside using a
  cough, sneeze or laugh, or when                 lubricating jelly;
  moving suddenly or just getting up
  from a sitting position. This may be
  temporary because the pelvic floor
                                               • pharmacist if theymidwife or a
                                                 ask your doctor,
                                                                    can suggest
                                                                                        If you sometimes can’t help
                                                                                        wetting or soiling yourself,
  muscles relax slightly to prepare for           suitable ointment;                    you can get help.
  the baby’s delivery.                                                                  Incontinence is a very
     The growing baby will increase
  pressure on the bladder. If you find
                                               • where thegiving birth in a position
                                                           pressure on your back
                                                                                        common problem. It can
                                                                                        affect anyone, sometimes
  this a problem, you can improve the             passage is reduced – kneeling, for    during and after pregnancy.
  situation by doing exercises to tone            example.                              In many cases it is curable,
  up your pelvic floor muscles (see                                                      so if you’ve got a problem
  page 16). Ask a midwife or obstetric                                                  talk to your doctor,
  physiotherapist (see pages 62 and 63)        SKIN AND HAIR CHANGES                    midwife or health visitor,
  for advice.                                                                           or ring the confidential
                                               Hormonal changes taking place in         Continence Foundation
  PILES                                        pregnancy will make your nipples         helpline on 0845 345
                                               and the area around them go darker.      0165, Monday to Friday,
  Piles, also known as haemorrhoids,           Your skin colour may also darken a       9.30am to 1pm.
  are swollen veins around the back            little, either in patches or all over.   www.continence-
  passage which may itch, ache or feel         Birthmarks, moles and freckles may
  sore. You can usually feel the               also darken. Some women develop a
  lumpiness of the piles around the            dark line down the middle of their
  back passage. Piles may also bleed a         stomachs. These changes will
  little and they can make going to the        gradually fade after the baby has
  toilet uncomfortable or even painful.        been born, although your nipples
  They occur in pregnancy because              may remain a little darker.
  the veins relax under the influence               If you sunbathe while you are
  of pregnancy hormones. Piles usually         pregnant, you may find you tan
  go shortly after delivery. If you suffer     more easily. Protect your skin with
  from piles you should:                       a good, high-factor sunscreen.
                                               Don’t stay in the sun for very long.
  • fibre, like wholemeal bread, fruit
    eat plenty of food that is high in             Hair growth is also likely to
                                               increase in pregnancy. Your hair may
     and vegetables, and you should            also be greasier. After the baby is
     drink plenty of water – this will         born, it may seem as if you’re losing
     prevent constipation, which can           a lot of hair. In fact, you’re simply
     make piles worse;                         losing the increase that occurred
                                               during pregnancy.
  • avoid standing for long periods;                                                                                   81                                        Free Natural Health Ebooks

It might be more comfortable
to lie on one side with a
pillow under your tummy and
another between your knees.
                                 SLEEPLESSNESS                             to gather in the lowest parts of the
                                                                           body. You should:
                                 Late in pregnancy it can be very
                                 difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
                                 You’re uncomfortable lying down,
                                                                           • periods; standing for long
                                                                             try to avoid

                                 or just when you’re beginning to get
 • you.not to let it bother it
        Don’t worry that
                                 comfortable, you have to get up to
                                 go to the toilet. Some women have
                                                                           • wear comfortable shoes;
     will harm your baby – it
                                 strange dreams or nightmares about
                                 the baby and about the birth. Talking
                                                                           • – tryyourrest for an muchaasday with
                                                                                       feet up as
                                                                                                          you can

                                 about them can help you. Just because        your feet higher than your heart;
 • comfortable to lie on
   It might be more              you dream something, it doesn’t mean

     one side with a pillow
                                 it’s going to happen. The relaxation
                                 and breathing which are taught in
                                                                           • pageto17) –your foot exercises (see
                                                                             try do
                                                                                         these will help.
     under your tummy and        antenatal classes might be helpful.
     another between your
     knees.                                                                TEETH AND GUMS
                                 STRETCH MARKS
 •   Relaxation techniques
     may help. Your antenatal    These are pink or purplish lines
                                                                           Bleeding gums are caused by a
                                                                           build-up of plaque (bacteria) on the
     class (see pages 64–5)      which usually occur on the tummy          teeth. During pregnancy, hormonal
     may teach relaxation        or sometimes on the upper thighs or       changes in your body can cause the
     techniques, or you could    breasts. Some women get them,             plaque to make the gums more
     borrow a cassette from      some don’t. It depends on your skin       inflamed. They may become swollen
     your library.               type. Some people’s skin is more          and bleed more easily. To keep your
                                 elastic. You are more likely to get       teeth and gums healthy, you should:
 • warm bath, somedrink, a
   A warm, milky                 stretch marks if your weight gain is
     exercise or some restful
                                 more than average.
                                    It’s very doubtful whether oils or
                                                                           • yourspecial attention to cleaning
                                                                                  teeth. Ask your dentist to
     music before bedtime may    creams help to prevent stretch marks.        show you a good brushing
     help.                       After your baby is born, the marks           method to remove all the plaque;
                                 should gradually pale and become
 • canrest duringtothe day
       help you feel
                                 less noticeable.                          • foods too often. Try drinks and
                                                                             avoid having sugary
                                                                                                  to keep them
     less tired.                                                              only to meal times;
                                 SWOLLEN ANKLES, FEET
 •   Talk to your partner,
     a friend, doctor or
                                 AND FINGERS                               • is free whilethat dentalpregnant
                                                                                            you are

     midwife.                    Ankles, feet and fingers often swell a        and for a year after your baby’s
                                 little in pregnancy because the body         birth, so have a check-up now;
                                 holds more water than usual. Towards
                                 the end of the day, especially if the
                                 weather is hot or if you have been
                                                                           • any newwithreplacement fillings
                                                                                         your dentist whether

                                 standing a lot, the extra water tends        should be delayed until after your
82                                                                            baby is born.                                         Free Natural Health Ebooks

  VAGINAL DISCHARGE                                                                        TI R E D N E S S

  Almost all women have more vaginal
  discharge in pregnancy. It should be
                                              • crossed;to sit with your legs
                                                try not                               In the early months of
                                                                                      pregnancy you may feel tired
  clear and white and it should not                                                   or even desperately
  smell unpleasant. If the discharge is
  coloured or smells strange, or if you
                                              • weight as this increasesmuch
                                                try not to put on too
                                                                                      exhausted. The only answer
                                                                                      is to try to rest as much as
  feel itchy or sore, you may have a             pressure;                            possible. Make time to sit
  vaginal infection. Tell your doctor or                                              with your feet up during the
  midwife. The most common
  infection is thrush, which your
                                              • youwith your legs updiscomfort;
                                                    can to ease the
                                                                     as often as      day and accept any offers of
                                                                                      help from colleagues and
  doctor can treat easily. You can help                                               family. Towards the end of
  prevent thrush by wearing loose
  cotton underwear.
                                              • alsosupport tights,the muscles of
                                                     help support
                                                                    which may         pregnancy, you may feel
                                                                                      tired because of the extra
     If vaginal discharge, of any colour,        your legs – you can buy them at      weight you are carrying.
  increases a lot in later pregnancy,            most pharmacists;                    Make sure you get plenty
  tell your doctor or midwife.                                                        of rest.
                                              • thansleeping with your legs–higher
                                                      the rest of your body use
  VARICOSE VEINS                                 pillows under your ankles or put
                                                 bricks or books under the foot of
  Varicose veins are veins which have            your bed;
  become swollen. The veins in the
  legs are most commonly affected.
  You can also get varicose veins in
                                              • andfoot exercises (see page 17)
                                                    other antenatal exercises,
  the vulva (vaginal opening).                   such as walking, cycling and
  They usually get better after delivery.        swimming, which will all help
  You should:                                    your circulation.

  • periodsavoid standing for long
    try to
             of time;

  MORE              S E R I O U S P RO B L E M S


  Many of the tests in pregnancy check          In the last weeks of pregnancy you
  the growth of your baby. If you have        may also be asked to keep track of
  previously had a very small baby, or if     your baby’s movements. If you
  you smoke heavily, the midwives and         notice your baby’s movements
  doctors will already be monitoring          becoming less frequent or slowing
  your pregnancy closely. Blood               down, or if they stop, contact your
  pressure checks may also pick up            midwife or doctor immediately.
  signs of trouble. If there is concern         If tests show that your baby is not
  about your baby’s health, further tests     growing well in the womb, early
  may be carried out and more                 delivery by induction of labour or
  frequent monitoring of your baby            Caesarean section (see pages 101–2)
  may be recommended.                         may be recommended.

                                                                                                                 83                                      Free Natural Health Ebooks

                                     HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE AND                        Bleeding after about five months
     OTHER     SYMPTOMS              PRE-ECLAMPSIA                               may be a sign that the placenta is
                                                                                 implanted in the lower part of the
 You should contact your GP          During pregnancy your blood
                                                                                 uterus (placenta praevia) or that it
 if you have a sudden ‘acute’        pressure will be checked at every
                                                                                 has started to separate from the
 illness like diarrhoea,             antenatal appointment. This is
                                                                                 uterus (placental abruption). Both of
 vomiting, abdominal pain or         because a rise in blood pressure can
                                                                                 these can be dangerous for you and
 a high fever.                       be the first sign of a condition
                                                                                 the baby, so contact your midwife or
                                     known as pre-eclampsia – often
                                                                                 doctor immediately.
                                     called pregnancy-induced
                                                                                    The cells on the surface of the
                                     hypertension (PIH) or pre-eclamptic
                                                                                 cervix often change in pregnancy
                                     toxaemia (PET) – which can run
                                                                                 and make it more likely to bleed,
                                     in families and affects 10% of
                                                                                 particularly after intercourse. This is
                                     pregnancies. Your urine will also
                                                                                 called a cervical erosion. Vaginal
                                     be checked for protein.
                                         If you do have pre-eclampsia, you       infections can also cause a small
                                     will probably feel perfectly well.          amount of vaginal bleeding.
                                     Some women experience such                     Some causes of vaginal bleeding
                                     symptoms as headaches, visual               are more serious than others, so it’s
                                     disturbances, swelling and abdominal        important to find the cause straight
                                     pain. Pre-eclampsia can still be            away. The most common sort of
                                                                                 bleeding in late pregnancy is the
     DEEP VEIN                       severe, however, without any
                                                                                 small amount of blood mixed with
  THROMBOSIS (DVT)                   symptoms at all. Although most
                                     cases are mild and cause no trouble,        mucus, known as a ‘show’. This is a
 DVT is a serious condition          it can get worse and be serious for         sign that the cervix is changing and
 where clots develop, often in       both mother and baby. It can cause          becoming ready for labour to start. It
 the deep veins of the legs. It      fits in the mother (eclampsia) and           may happen a few days before
 can be fatal if the clot travels    affect the baby’s growth, and be            contractions start or during labour
 from the legs to the lungs.         life-threatening if left untreated.         itself. You should always report this
                                     That is why routine antenatal               to your doctor or midwife as soon as
 Flights over five hours where                                                    it occurs.
 you sit still for a long time       checks are so important.
 may increase the risk.                  Pre-eclampsia usually happens           SEVERE ITCHING AND
                                     towards the end of pregnancy, but           OBSTETRIC CHOLESTASIS
 Pregnant women and women            problems can occur earlier. Rarely, it
 who have recently had a baby        can happen after the birth. The earlier     Although itching is very common
 are amongst those more at           in pregnancy it starts, the more severe     in normal pregnancy, severe
 risk. If you intend to travel by    it is likely to be. If it does get worse,   generalised itching, without a rash,
 air, consult your GP or mid-        the treatment ranges from rest at           particularly in the last four months
 wife before the trip. Get advice    home or in hospital to drugs to lower       of pregnancy, may be the only sign
 on in-seat exercises to keep        the high blood pressure, or,                of an uncommon condition called
 your circulation active. After      occasionally early delivery of the baby.    obstetric cholestasis. This is a
 the 28th week of pregnancy,                                                     potentially dangerous liver disorder
 most airlines require a letter
                                     VAGINAL BLEEDING                            which seems to run in families,
 from your GP or midwife to          Bleeding from the vagina at any time        although it can occur without any
 say that you are fit to travel.      in pregnancy can be a danger signal. In     family history. It is important to
                                     early pregnancy, bleeding may be a          contact your doctor if you have
 If you develop swollen                                                          troublesome itching because
                                     sign of an ectopic pregnancy or a mis-
 painful legs or have breathing                                                  obstetric cholestasis may lead to
                                     carriage (see pages 104–5), although
 difficulties after the trip, go to                                               premature labour, stillbirth or serious
                                     many women who bleed at this time
 your doctor or your nearest                                                     health problems for the baby, and
                                     go on to have normal and successful
 Accident and Emergency                                                          to an increased risk of maternal
                                     pregnancies. If you have bleeding with
 department immediately.                                                         haemorrhage after the delivery.
                                     pain, contact your GP straight away.
84                                               Free Natural Health Ebooks
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relieve a particular symptom, we believe that by combining our herbal and homeopathic
remedies you will find a complete solution that is safe and highly effective.

Read more about the our Dual-Modality Approach »

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